Photographing a Private Bowling Alley


bowling alley

This was probably my most unique assignment to date. I got a request not too long ago asking me how much I would charge to photograph one room. I thought, “Just one room? That’s odd.” I asked for more information and found out this was a bowling alley inside someone’s house! The lanes were installed by Fusion Bowling and they install private bowling alleys. Talk about a niche market!

I showed up for the job in a very exclusive community and found out the home belongs to a professional major league baseball player. The bowling alley is actually on the second floor.

The shoot was pretty straight forward. The lanes create natural leading lines that make composition a no-brainer. The client asked if I shot HDR. I told him I don’t because I generally don’t like the look of HDR; it just doesn’t look realistic. I have seen some interior photographers use HDR in a style I like, but I haven’t figured out the technique. Every HDR I’ve tried always has that “HDR look”. I prefer a natural look so I take multiple exposures and blend them using masks. I did take several exposures in this case specifically for HDR and I might post an update so you can see the comparison. I’m currently reading RC Concepcion’s “The HDR Book” to see if I can learn something new.

You can see more images from the shoot in the gallery; and don’t forget you can like, comment on, rate and share individual images on my site. Give it a try!

Review: Get in Motion Tour


The Get in Motion Tour is coming to a city near you. It’s for anyone interested in making films with your DSLR. I shouldn’t say “making films” because you can also include wedding and event videos. I’m going to get ahead of myself here and say one of the things the presenters talked about was the fact that photographers already have existing relationships with clients. You might be a senior photographer, or a portrait photographer, or a baby photographer; you get the idea. Well, video is just one more service you can offer.

Okay, on to the review. I attended the workshop last night in Orlando. A bit late on a school night, but overall I thought it was worth it and for 49-bucks a great value. I have to say that I didn’t learn a lot of new things, but that has more to do with my experience and is no reflection on the instructors. My first job out of college was as a news videographer; that’s where I learned the principles of photography (lighting, composition, white balance, etc.). I also know about the 180-rule and not “breaking the plane”.

The first part of the workshops is spent talking about “storytelling”; why it’s so important to draw a viewer in and how to do it by shooting sequences. How those sequences are edited together is part of the story telling process.  Even though I already knew this, it was a good reminder. When I worked in TV news, I knew the best way to tell a story was to personalize it. If I told you about a guy who was murdered or that the housing market was bad, you might not care. But if you heard from the dead guy’s pregnant wife or the mother of three who is about to become homeless, you might care a little more. In other words, I want to tell you their story. It’s not enough to just string together some beautiful clips.

The site claims you will learn how to make videos for events, birth announcements and weddings. You don’t, per se, learn the nuts and bolts of how to do it, but they do show examples which can give you inspiration. In fact, most of the course consisted of showing examples. In a couple of cases, you see the same video clip shot or edited differently to contrast technique.

Then the course goes into gear, specifically lens selection and what kind of look and feel it gives. They also talked about monopods, microphones and recorders. The course wrapped up with some editing techniques in Adobe Premiere.

I wish they had talked about a few things that some beginners may not know. Someone in the audience asked about frame rate; and while the instructor answered the question, he didn’t address how this affects your shutter speed. As a general rule, your shutter should be at twice your frame rate. So at 24fps, you should be at 1/50th of a second. There was also only a passing mention of focusing at narrow apertures. It might be helpful to know that following focus is very difficult (if not impossible) when shooting at f/1.2 or 1.8. There was also no mention on lighting or lighting gear (they did have a couple of hot lights with reflective umbrellas for a live shoot but there was no mention of them). I think it’s assumed that photographers have this knowledge but most of us use flash and not continuous lighting.

Again, I can’t say I learned a whole lot, but it was good refresher. It was also inspirational and I did pick up some tips on syncing audio and doing some post processing on video clips. If you’re just getting your feet wet or haven’t even dipped your toes into  DSLR video, then I would definitely recommend going. If you’re an intermediate, then it’s 50/50. I would say if you have the time, $50 is not much for a 4 1/2 hour workshop. You at least get some food for thought.

Note: If you want to go and need the discount code, David Ziser sent one out. It’s: DPTBLG.

Nikon’s New Red D3100


Nikon's red D3100

Last June, Canon launched a red Rebel T3. Now Nikon is out with a red version of its D3100 DSLR. Monkey see, monkey do?

Would you buy a red DSLR? Do you wish other models came in a color other than black? If so, what color would you want?